Take the 2-minute tour ×
Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'd really like to learn how to play pen-and-paper RPGs. I know that it takes a few players to actually sit down and play, but I'm not at all sure where to find more gamers.

How do I find existing groups to join? Or, are there any resources online that may help me find existing RPG groups or players?

share|improve this question
add comment

13 Answers

What the answer comes down to is "exercise your social networks, both online and offline." You can be both looking for gamers/groups of gamers you can join and also registering your interest so that groups of gamers interested in a new player can find you.

Decide what you want to do and prep your pitch

Do you care what game(s) you will play, can you host, can you drive to a game and if so how far, etc? You need to decide on this so you know whether "I found a 4e game that meets in a library in Hoboken 60 minutes away" would be good or not. This helps you refine your pitch when you talk to other gamers from "I wanty the game" to "I'm a [new/experienced] gamer looking for [any RPG, a D&D game, prefer 4e but am open to others, etc] within [walking distance, a short drive, 120 minutes, etc.] of [where you are]. Also note what you have to provide - "I can provide a gaming location," "I don't mind GMing," "I am new but enthusiastic and really want to learn from an experienced group..." Note limitations, like "I am allergic to cats" or "No Republicans."

Shop It Around

Definitely use online resources.

  1. Start with the everyday ones! Post on your Facebook, twitter, blog, or whatnot that you already have. If you don't do those, start. I am not sure why I need to explain this, but "being social" is the first step to "joining society" and plugging into the gaming community is no different. And a lot more people use these common social media outlets than use specialized gamer-listing sites.

  2. Use normal looking-for-people sites, like meetup.com or special interest groups within facebook, foursquare, whatnot, even classified sites like Craigslist. Add "Looking for a RPG group" to your profile and status messages; look for other people doing the same; look for groups around the topic (ideally local).

  3. Use gaming-specific sites or sites specific to your locale (ideally both). There's "listing" sites like nearbygamers.com and whatnot. I found my current group through the now-defunct austin-gamers mailing list. My company has internal forums and I've seen people posting for gamers there.

  4. Be part of existing online gaming communities - general forums like ENWorld, RPG.net, etc., game specific ones like the WotC forums or Dumpshock - here's a nice "world map" of all the big RPG forums out there from ENWorld. Plus the big forums often specifically have sections or resources for "Looking For Games" - ENWorld, RPG.net.

  5. Google search. You may find RPG clubs (like I helped start the FORGE in Memphis, a public gaming club. Simply searching for "Memphis roleplaying" gets the FORGE and a bunch of meetups and other likely looking clubs and resources. You may also find older posts or other leads on local gaming folks. I've had people email me "out of the blue" because they saw something I posted on a forum or mailing list years ago about having moved to Austin and being a gamer asking me to hook them into local games I know about.

But don't use them to the exclusion of offline resources!

Get off your chair.

  1. Post a flyer at gaming stores, but also wherever else flyers are posted. Public bulletin boards, ones at work, for sure ones at nearby universities. Coffee shops, wherever local custom dictates - here in Austin every sandwich shop and whatnot has a bulletin board.

  2. If you already know gamers in other groups, or even people that play "related" kinds of games like TCGs, network with them. I formed a gaming group originally in Memphis by telling our Magic: The Gathering play group I would like to run some real roleplaying.

  3. Go to conventions! You may live near other gamers but it's hard to tell; if you go to a regional convention you may meet them (and it's a great place to post to meet gamers).

  4. The WotC D&D Encounters program is really pushing game-store-run games regularly, look for one of these near you - even if you hate 4e, you can meet gamers. They used to push RPGA a lot and there were local RPGA-affiliated gaming clubs open to the public, I started one in Memphis for example. When I was in Living Greyhawk they were even organized by region/country as well. I know Paizo has an Organized Play campaign called Pathfinder Society that local groups plug into too.

  5. This shouldn't be last... Make some friends and then see if they would like to game! I taught myself roleplaying from a Star Frontiers boxed set in 1982. It can be convenient to plug into an existing group or know some experienced gamers but it's by no means required.

share|improve this answer
    
Gaming conventions or local games clubs are a great way to meet like-minded gamers. Not everyone approaches the hobby the same way, so playing with others in convention games avoids an uncomfortable situation (you wouldn't invite just anyone to play in your carefully constructed campaign). Better yet run a scenario at a convention! You'll meet a lot of gamers this way. –  RPG Plotter Dec 13 '10 at 6:51
add comment

Meetup.com is a good place to start. Just do a search on RPG, Role Playing Games, Dungeons and Dragons; that sort of thing. You'll probably find a group nearby.

Message boards like ENWorld, Knights and Knaves Alehouse, Dragonsfoot, etc. are also good places to start. They usually have "gamers seeking games" sections and the like.

share|improve this answer
    
I joined meetup.com and got an invitation to a group within a week. Not bad, considering the game I wanted to play isn't "in vogue" these days. –  LawfulIndifferent Aug 26 '10 at 23:00
2  
My only problem with meetup.com is the cost associated with running a group. :( –  Alex Schröder Aug 27 '10 at 10:20
add comment

I found Nearby Gamers to be an excellent way to find a group last time I moved home.

If you find some people in your local area that are signed up for it, you can drop them a mail and explain your situation. Most gamers are a friendly lot and are happy to introduce new people to the hobby.

share|improve this answer
    
Nearby Gamers also has a nice tag system in place. –  Alex Schröder Aug 27 '10 at 10:20
add comment

By going beyond the gamestore. Seriously, I consider this post and its earlier iterations on RPG.net classics in how to find players.

Bullet points of the process he describes:

  1. Decide what game you will play, and when you will be playing
  2. Contact gamers that you know, and ask your non-gamer friends if they'd like to play.
  3. Make a flyer
  4. Get the flyer out there
  5. Screen potential players
  6. Start playing.

Two notes of my own:

2 above: yes, ask non-gaming friends and colleagues. Don't be embarrassed but do have a better explanation than just "want to play D&D". Invite them like you would a poker night and don't emphasis that it has be more than once (first one's free).

4 above: Starbucks, bookstores, lots of fast food places, other coffee shops, and laundromats are the big spots here. Also, make an HTML version and post to Craigslist and local activities websites.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Local game stores are a good place to find people. Many stores have tables set aside for people to run games in-store, and often there will be corkboards where groups looking for new players will put up notices. If the store owner is a roleplayer, they may be know people personally who are looking for new players, or be otherwise able to help you just by word of mouth.

If your nearest game store is far enough away that you can't drop in easily, call to find out what the place is like and whether they often host roleplaying groups or events. Ask if there are regular events at the store—many stores have regular drop-in game nights or host events like D&D Experience.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Another source is Obsidian Portal.. It is, to me, a superb source for multiple campaigns and game types. The message boards need some work, but it is a very active community.

Also, if you're willing to invest in some time to learn how it works, RPTools has a very active community and a lot of gamer classifieds for a variety of different campaigns.

Now if only one of these sites could give me the time needed to play... sigh

share|improve this answer
add comment

If you live in a German speaking country, consider http://www.spielerzentrale.de/.

share|improve this answer
add comment

After moving to a new city I found a lot of people to play with by attending local gaming conventions. Many conventions host a living campaign such as Living Forgotten Realms for Dungeons & Dragons or the Pathfinder Socity for Pathfinder. Look on warhorn.net for these events. Often there will be intro. mods geared for new players.

Playing at a convention gives you the opportunity to meet and play with a lot of different players and judges. After a con or two you may even find people to recruit into a home campaign or be invited to play in one yourself. At the very least you get to play a tabletop rpg while you search for players...

share|improve this answer
add comment

Consider joining a roleplaying organisation. I joined a local Danish one called Avalon, which is great.

First I tried finding people on facebook, only to realize that facebook mainly consists of people that I already know, and I was looking for new people, not existing ones.

Go out there, find a group. If you dont like what you find, look again. They are literally everywhere and often openminded and goodhearted.

share|improve this answer
add comment

What about where you work (if you work)? That's how I found my group 10 years ago! We're still gaming strong and having a blast.

I've also gone the route of posting to boards. I gamed with two groups, one was okay, another was wonderful then we kind of drifted apart.

share|improve this answer
add comment

There is a way to actually play pen and paper RPGs online. The best website (as far as I feel) is Roll20.net. This website acts as a virtual tabletop, where you can play a number of pen and paper RPGs, with all of the dice already on the website. Plus, you can play with people from all over the world, with voice chat and many other fun gizmos built into the system. When you're signed in there is a link, up near the top, where you can find campaigns you may be able to join.

With this website, I would also suggest you try using Myth-Weavers to create your character sheets, since most Online Game Masters like to have all of the player information available to them.

However, back to the topic at hand, if you really want this personal connection that you make when playing in person, I would suggest that you look up your local hobby and comic book shops, as they tend to host one or two RPG games every week, and even if they don't, it is likely you will find someone who knows where to find such games.

share|improve this answer
1  
Does Roll20 have a group-finding feature? I wasn't aware of one, but that's the only thing I can think of that makes the first two paragraphs on-topic and I could just not know about it. –  SevenSidedDie Nov 21 '13 at 3:26
    
It does, near the top, you can find campaigns –  Flotolk Feb 8 at 14:31
    
@SevenSidedDie, Roll20 has a looking for group feature where existing games (in-progress or setting up) may be posted, a (relatively new) looking for player feature where players can advertise themselves for various systems, and a LFG forum. –  Brian S Feb 9 at 10:14
    
@BrianS Yep. It just hadn't actually been mentioned in the answer before. –  SevenSidedDie Feb 9 at 12:12
add comment

There have been some good suggestions here and a little more diversity won't hurt. You can also try www.FindGamers.us if you live in the United States, one of it's territories or on an American foreign military base. Basically anywhere the Usa has assigned a zip code.

It matches you with other gamers based on your zip code but also has a listing of gamers only interested in on-line gaming. You'd need to build a gamer profile with your Genre and Game System interests but thats very easy.

FindGamers not only supports Roleplayers but also Wargaming, not too many sites do that. And I probably should say that I know the site works, because I'm the admin.

share|improve this answer
add comment

There are also a number of Google+ communities for RPGs, both specific and general. Many of these are connection points for online games using Google Hangouts, Roll20, etc., but you may also find members near you that want to game in person.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.